Backup Night

I spent most of last night (bit sad innit?!) backing up my computers – well it started off as I thought I should clone my Mac Mini (in case I decide to buy OSX Lion) which I’ve never done before.

Booted Ubuntu 11.04 from a LiveCD, and dd’ed an 80Gb disk image to the 1Tb NTFS drive over USB. Ubuntu 11.04/Unity is a bit better than Fedora 15/Gnome Shell.

Click for fullsize
Click for fullsize

Did the same with the laptop, 160Gb image that time, but its XP+Fedora, did the 80Gb desktop the other day and the other 64Gb desktop a while back. I’ve got to clone my HTPC too, that’s running Win7+Fedora, think that’s 250Gb.

Then I backed up the images to my fileserver. I decided that over 300Gb of disk images (so far – all the PC’s would come to about 900Gb) was a bit much to keep on my desktop machine or eSATA backup drive, so I’ve just got images on the USB drive and the fileserver, I can’t see both failing. I’ve got a spare 1Tb drive lying around which I might get one of those weird docks for and free up a few hundred gigs on the fileserver!

Thinking about it, I should clone the fileserver’s boot drive too, although that would be a 250Gb image – I could just backup used blocks with Clonezilla or Acronis but I don’t trust either anymore. Maybe I’ll treat the fileserver to a little 64Gb SSD or something, its running Ubuntu 9.10 so could probably do with an upgrade when 11.10 gets released in October.

Halfway through all of this we had a power surge which rebooted my computers, so had to re-rsync the data drives on two of them and the eSATA drive, and check the image on the USB had copied properly to the fileserver (md5sum runs slow over USB2!) left that going this morning, its done now.

Attack Of The Clones

I’ve been trying out some cloning solutions as Clonezilla failed to restore a working system when I cloned my Fedora 14 install.

I tried Acronis True Image Home 2011 PlusPack, and that was a bit odd – I can get past grub, but that’s about it – I think its not liking the UUID’s or something with the encrypted partitions. Possibly this is because it wanted to auto-grow the /boot partition from 500Mb to 6Gb!

So now I’ve tried the most basic option – an Ubuntu 11.04 LiveCD and dd – and I successfully restored the disk image into VirtualBox to test it out.

The commands are as follows – note that reading in chunks of 4k is optimised for SSD’s and the 80Gb backup took about 40mins:


dd if=/dev/sda of=/var/tmp/ntfs/backup.img bs=4096


dd if=/var/tmp/ntfs/backup.img of=/dev/sda bs=4096

I used an unencrypted NTFS USB drive to store the images as it takes out the hassle of device-mapper (encryption) permissions (ext3), network setup (NFS/samba) and file-splitting (FAT32).

Update: upgraded the blog to WordPress 3.2

Amelia’s 1st Birthday

Yesterday was my niece’s first birthday. Everyone came over to my place and ate/drank way too much – it was like Xmas, especially as I’m having leftovers for lunch tomorrow! Amelia was very happy and not at all noisy, Jacques was having fun too.

Pip has some photos and I made a video – ripped using the Mac’s Firewire/iMovie and converted to DVD-quality MPEG on my new Linux box at astounding speed, it transcoded about 3Gb of DV to MPEG2 in 8mins.

I tried converting a VMWare install of Win2003 for use with VirtualBox. Well it didn’t work, I followed the various instructions I found for doing the same with XP – similar to how I used to convert physical machines to VMWare using Acronis True Image. Basically it never actually got to the login prompt – it just sat there at the loading banner. Bit of a shame as it means that even though I can clone a basic 2003 R2 SP2 install, I still have to install Visual Studio 6/2003/2005 multiple times to fully migrate my VM’s, similar to what I did with RHEL/Oracle.

As a testimony to the ridiculous power of my new Core2Quad, I played OpenArena on full graphics detail (which looks very nice) over the internet whilst Acronis was backing up the VM, and didn’t notice even a pause. As another test I converted some DivX’s to MPEG2 to allow them to be played on a regular DVD player. Well I had four instances of mencoder running at the same time, each using a core; and it still wasn’t really taxing the CPU – or getting hot; it was so fast that by the time I had typed the command on core4, core1 had finished transcoding!

Update: just watched The Happening, which was a pretty good disaster movie about a mysterious toxin that is causing people in New York to kill themselves. Certainly better than 20 Years After, which I have started to watch but turned off twice now, which seems like just another apocalypse movie.

I Hate Active Directory

Myself and a colleague wasted most of today (and some of yesterday) trying to get a VMWare installation of XP to connect to the office domain, after mucking around with various settings, IP configuration, services and Windows patches we got as far as “access denied”, which we assume is due to our users not having permissions to actually join a domain – although in true Windows fashion, the error message probably relates to something like we’ve got the wrong wallpaper/screensaver or something entirely unrelated to access permissions.

What was odd is that one old VM of XP Home did work for a bit. I even installed SP3 – which took over an hour and seemed to practically completely re-install Windows (which was XP Pro Corp SP2 already). No difference between VMWare Server 1.0.6 on Fedora 7 and Fusion 1.1.2 on MacOSX 10.4.

I also restored my Acronis image of my laptop – which went pretty well, didn’t even have to fix the MBR or reinstall GRUB, just restore from USB disk and reboot. Hopefully next week I’ll get a proper XP installed on there (after I’ve fdisk’ed it and deleted the MBR again!)

I also helped another colleague get IPv6 working on his test server. We basically installed CentOS 5.1 (after Xubuntu 8.04 had really poor performance on the 512Mb Pentium3/1GHz), configured the interface with IPv6 and disabled IPv4, changed Apache’s Listen directive and then tried out ping6 and traceroute6 etc between that and my laptop. For some reason we didn’t manage to get Firefox to connect to the website (even using a DNS entry) but I think that had to do with a static route or interface binding.

My agency is mucking about again – switching our payment terms from two to about six weeks and making us use multiple timesheet systems – Excel/Email, website and paper!